State of the State Address Tonight

By John Forester | January 22, 2019

From WisPolitics.com …

Gov. Tony Evers will deliver his first State of the State at 7 p.m. today.

The speech will be carried live by WisconsinEye and Wisconsin Public TV as Evers addresses a joint session of the state Legislature.

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SAA 2019-21 Legislative Agenda

By John Forester | January 22, 2019

After a lengthy process of seeking member input and vetting policy proposals, the 2019-21 SAA Legislative Agenda has been approved.  The process utilized was designed to achieve a legislative agenda representative of our diverse, statewide membership.  I want to thank the members of the SAA Policy Research & Development Team and the SAA Legislative Committee for all their significant contributions to the agenda.  Hats off as well to all SAA members who participated in this process with their comments, questions and suggestions.

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Governor Requests to Give Budget Address

By John Forester | January 21, 2019

From The Wheeler Report . . .

Governor Evers has sent letters to both Senate Chief Clerk Jeff Renk and Assembly Chief Clerk Patrick Fuller requesting to deliver his budget address to a joint session of the legislature on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

 Here is the history of Governor’s and their budget address speech dates.

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Legislative Leaders on Both Sides Support More Funding for Education

By John Forester | January 10, 2019

Check out this news story from Molly Beck of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the release of the Blue Ribbon Commission recommendations.

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Blue Ribbon Commission Recommendations Released

By John Forester | January 7, 2019

Check out the Blue Ribbon Commission recommendations released today.  You may also like to access my December 20, 2018 blog post in which I recap the December 19th meeting of the Commission.

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Evers Calls For “Putting People First” in Inaugural Address

By John Forester | January 7, 2019

From WisPolitics.com …

Echoing a theme from his successful campaign, Tony Evers today called for “putting people first” after being sworn in as Wisconsin’s 46th governor.

The outgoing state schools superintendent reminded the crowd in the Capitol of the themes he campaigned on last fall, including fully funding public education, making healthcare affordable and protecting those with pre-existing health conditions.

But, according to his prepared remarks, he added, “We cannot fix these problems unless people come before politics.”

Evers offered no specifics on how elected officials could fix their political divide. But he said the “hard work” of bridging that gap begins: in “classrooms and playgrounds,” where kids learn to treat others with kindness and respect, regardless of where their parents were born; on campuses and in houses of worship, where people will find value in their differences; and with valuing all workers.

Finally, Evers added, it “begins in these marble halls,” adding elected officials have an obligation and allegiance “to the people of this state, not any political leader or party.”

“We must turn the page on the tired politics of the past, and we must lead by example,” Evers said. “It’s time to remake and repair our state and to reclaim our better history.”

Evers thanked his predecessor, Gov. Scott Walker, who was sitting on the stage. He also recounted being a kid who “grew up in Plymouth, met my wife in kindergarten, took her to junior prom, and went from scraping the mold off of cheese to teaching science to becoming state superintendent to now standing here before you.”

Still, he said the swearing-in was “bigger than me.” He urged those in attendance to focus on: 870,000 Wisconsin families he said are struggling to make ends meet; 2.4 million Wisconsinites who have a pre-existing condition; those losing their farms; going to school in classrooms with 30 other kids because public education hasn’t been fully funded; and seniors who can’t afford the cost of health care.

Evers bemoaned a society being “paralyzed by polarity” and “content with division.”

“We’ve gotten away from who we are and the values that make Wisconsin great — not Republican or Democratic values, but our Wisconsin values of kindness and respect, empathy and compassion, and integrity and civility,” Evers said.

Read his prepared remarks here.

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Blue Ribbon Commission Meeting Recap

By John Forester | December 20, 2018

The Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding met for the final time yesterday with members discussing and finalizing its recommendations for improving Wisconsin’s school funding system.  Commission members worked from a series of issue papers developed by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) based on the testimony received during the Commission’s eight public hearings around the state.

At the beginning of the meeting, Commission Co-chairs, Representative Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), said they wanted Commission members to focus on identifying the issue areas that are vitally important and must be addressed by the Legislature, as opposed to debating which option is favored in each issue paper.

In my estimation, the results of yesterdays meeting show that the Commission members strongly support significant new investments in improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps in Wisconsin.

Below, I have shared my notes on the recommendations made by the Commission on each issue paper.  Access the issue papers here.

Paper #10 – Per Pupil Adjustment and Per Pupil Aid

The Commission recommends Alternative #1.

Paper #11 – Declining Enrollment

The Commission is forwarding both options to the Legislature with a preference for Alternative #2.

Paper #12 – Negative Tertiary Aid

The Commission is forwarding all three options to the Legislature for consideration.

Paper #13 – Timing of School Aids Distribution

The Commission is forwarding both options to the Legislature for consideration.

Paper #14 – School Tax Levy Credit Funding

The Commission recommends Alternative #1.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Informing Racine Taxpayers About the Voucher Tax Levy

By John Forester | December 20, 2018

Check out this article from the Racine Journal Times on the insert mailed with Racine property tax bills detailing the portion of the school tax levy which supports tuition for private school students through vouchers.

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Fitzgerald Announces Senate Committee Chairs

By John Forester | December 17, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

All 19 GOP members of the state Senate next session will chair a committee, including the three incoming freshmen.

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, today announced the standing committees and chairs for the 2019-20 legislative session.

Kathy Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, will become chair of the Elections, Ethics and Rural Issues Committee. Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, this session chaired the Elections and Utilities Committee.

Andre Jacque, R-DePere, will chair the Local Government, Small Business, Tourism and Workforce Development Committee. Those areas were split among other committees this session.

And Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, will chair the Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families Committee. This session, Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, chaired the Universities and Technical Colleges Committee after fellow Republican Sheila Harsdorf left to join the Walker administration.

The changes for returning members include:

*Sen. Pat Testin, R-Stevens Point, replaces outgoing Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, as chair of the Committee on Health and Human Services.

*The committee chaired by Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, becomes Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government. This session, it was the Economic Development, Commerce and Trade Committee.

*The committee chaired by Sen. Dave Craig, R-Big Bend, becomes Insurance, Financial Services, Government Oversight and Courts. This session, it was the Insurance, Financial Services, Constitution and Federalism Committee.

*The committee chaired by Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, becomes Transportation, Veterans and Military Affairs. This session, it was the Transportation and Veterans Affairs Committee.

*Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, will chair the Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions Committee. This session, the Agriculture, Small Business and Tourism Committee was chaired by outgoing Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls.

*LeMahieu will chair the Utilities and Housing Committee after chairing Elections and Utilities this session.

See the release here.

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Blue Ribbon Commission to Meet on Wednesday

By John Forester | December 17, 2018

The co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, Rep. Joel Kitchens (R- Sturgeon Bay) and Sen. Luther Olsen (R- Ripon), have announced the next Commission meeting on Wednesday, December 19 in Room 412 East, Wisconsin State Capitol.

The commission meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m., with members discussing and finalizing the commission’s recommendations for improving the school funding formula based on previous public hearings. No public input will be heard at this time.

Blue Ribbon Commission Option Papers

 

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